The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

March 23, 2009

Sooners credit Capel for turnaround

NORMAN (AP) — Oklahoma made the NCAA tournament in 2006, but its basketball program quickly turned into a mess.

The Sooners made a swift exit from the tournament, losing in the first round to Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Not long after, coach Kelvin Sampson bolted for Indiana, amid an NCAA investigation into nearly 600 improper recruiting telephone calls made by Sampson and his staff that resulted in probation and other sanctions for Oklahoma.

The bad news continued: After Sampson left, three of the prominent recruits who had signed with Oklahoma backed out of their letters of intent, including Damion James, who went to Texas, and Scottie Reynolds, who went to Villanova. That left Sampson’s replacement, Jeff Capel, with a bare cupboard of a roster.

But it didn’t take long for Capel to turn around the program. Three years after taking over, he’s guided the second-seeded Sooners into the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament, in which OU (29-5) will play third-seeded Syracuse (28-9) at 6:27 p.m. Friday in a South Region game in Memphis, Tenn.

It’s the Sooners’ longest run in the NCAA tournament since 2003, when they lost in the round of eight, ironically to the Orange.

Capel wasn’t in the mood to look back Monday at how far the Sooners have come: “Too busy; I’m still in the midst of it,” he said. “When it’s over, I guess we’ll do that.”

An athletic department spokesman said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione was unavailable and Castiglione did not immediately respond to an e-mail query sent Monday afternoon by The Associated Press. But OU players certainly are aware of the program’s recent history and appreciative of its latest run of success, giving much credit to their coach.

“I’m proud to be a part of the team that kind of hopefully changed the program around and kind of got it rolling again,” sophomore center Blake Griffin said. “It’s something we’ll all be proud of as a team.”

Text Only
Sports
  • Attorney; OU's Mixon acted in self defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon said the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense. UPDATED with 911 audio and transcript embedded.

    July 29, 2014

  • OSU no longer faces APR restrictions

    NCAA officials say Oklahoma State’s football program no longer faces restrictions for the upcoming school year because its Academic Progress Rate has been amended.

    July 29, 2014

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rice's punishment hardly fit the crime

    Two games, just over 12 percent of the 16-game regular season. Two games for hitting a woman hard enough to knock her out cold.
    Rice said Monday he will not appeal his suspension, which could wind up costing him $529,411 in fines and salary. And why wouldn’t he? He must feel like he got off scot-free.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SamBradfordpicturejpeg Bradford used to being at 'career crossroads'

    It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.
    Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • TU wins C-USA academic honor

    The University of Tulsa earned the 2013-14 Conference USA Institutional Excellence award by posting the highest grade point average during the 2013-14 academic year for all student athletes in conference-sponsored athletes, the school announced on Monday.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hixon added to West All-State football team

    July 28, 2014

  • All-State Herndon's last act as EHS tennis coach

    July 28, 2014

  • Area swimmers help West sweep All-State dual

    Enid’s Sara Nazari, Hunter McEachern and Gabe Sanchez and Kingfisher’s Savanah Storey helped the West sweep the East at the All-State swim meet at Jenks High School Monday.

    July 28, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-29-14

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge OKs sale of Clippers

    A judge ruled against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Monday in his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

    July 28, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.